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Front Page » Government » 40 million mobility hub targets self-driving, electric vehicles

40 million mobility hub targets self-driving, electric vehicles

Written by on October 19, 2021
40 million mobility hub targets self-driving, electric vehicles

Coral Gables city commissioners got the opportunity to see official renderings and a glimpse of how the Coral Gables Mobility Hub is going to change and elevate the city into the future. 

During last week’s city commission meeting, design and architecture firm Gensler presented in detail all the features the estimated $40 million mobility hub at 245 Andalusia Ave. is to offer for residents and visitors when it’s completed in the first quarter of 2024. 

The hub is to have an internal drive-thru lane for ridesharing services, retail and bicycle storage. It will also offer dockless vehicle parking, bike share docking stations, a wi-fi lounge, e-Commerce Logistics for drone package deliveries and pop-up coffee shops. 

The first level is reserved for electric vehicles, with charging stations in all spaces. Intermediate levels will be self-parking that can accommodate self-driving vehicles in the future. The open-air rooftop is to feature landscaped areas, venue space, café restaurant, lounging areas and areas to practice sports.

“As we move forward with mobility, we know there’s going to be changes, there’s a big debate in the industry, whether that’s 10 years from now, whether it’s 20 years from now, but it’s coming,” said Kevin Kinney, Coral Gables’ parking director. “It will happen, and it may be a generational thing and it may be our kids or my grandkids that have to see it through.”

The city has already signed an agreement with Weitz Company to manage the construction of the mobility hub. Construction is scheduled to begin in September of next year. 

“If you tell me we’re going to build this foundation and we’re going to build this incredible building,” Mayor Vince Lago said, “and we can possibly have two floors of commercial space that could bring significant money and attraction to the community, we could bring world-class tenants that would want to be in such a facility like this. We just want to keep our options open and just show that we’re interested in doing whatever staff can dream up. Let’s just talk about it,” he continued. 

The cost-benefit of adding commercial floors needs to be considered, said Vice Mayor Michael Mena.

“What kind of income will that generate, what’s the cost of it? You’re already incurring the costs for building the existing proposed structure, how much more is it to build another floor and how much can you generate on that? Those are all things we need to tackle,” the vice mayor said. 

Push the envelope to what’s allowed to see what can be done is necessary, said Commissioner Kirk R. Menendez. “It’s better to make decisions, forward-thinking, instead of looking back and wishing you had taken that step. I’m looking forward to seeing the price tag and how we’re going to do it, but definitely, we need to do something. Our Miracle Mile area needs it.”

“There’s a lot of opportunity moving forward. Let’s start gathering ideas and possible costs,” Mayor Lago added. 

“This concept that you basically showed us evolves into the possibility of retooling the parking hub, what is built in 5, 6, 7 years from now into something else like a commercial or office space floors. That is what will make us all proud and we could potentially be the first city to take on a structure of this magnitude.”

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